Anyone at 4.0+ without high school or college experience?

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by raiden031, Dec 13, 2006.

  1. sixftlion

    sixftlion Rookie

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    4.5 now - started tennis 4 years ago, at 37 years old

    I am 41 years female. Started to play tennis 4 years ago. I have been athlete all my life, all kinds of sports. After one year playing against the wall and working on my strokes, I started to play in the leagues and tournaments. Friends were telling me "you look like 4.5" so I self-rated myself (oh, that ego!) as 4.5 and got beat up in all my matches the first year... LOL... computer bumped me down to 4.0. My first year in 4.0 was miserable as I was hating those moonballs, slices and dices and decided that I am done with 4.0 next year, I cannot take it. But when the next year came (2006) I thought that if I can't beat 4.0 players easily, I am not good enough to move on. So I played 1 more year and won all my matches that year 0 and 1 or 2. I got bumped up to 4.5 again. That year I also started to play Open tournaments. Got beat up often, later won a few matches, got to the finals in a few, and was learning a lot. Played also in the age group tournaments (40 years) and got ranked no. 43 nationally...

    I play EVERY day, sometimes twice a day, if I can. I workout in the gym regulary, do yoga, stretch, get massages and all that, so my body would hold together during all that stress... (and yes, I also work... LOL... gotta make money for my tennis lessons). I am so disciplined and determined to master as much of tennis as possible, in the shortest possible time. But, there are no short cuts. The experience of competing and seeing all the different kinds of balls, I cannot gain any other way than playing. My goal is to be nationally ranked top 3 in 45s. I have 4 more years to work on my game.
     
  2. Kaptain Karl

    Kaptain Karl Hall Of Fame

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    Wow! Very interesting comments from the last several folks.

    I started at 7 and was a "court rat" from about 12-17. My technique and skill was superior. My brain was ... pudding! It wasn't until my Coach at age 22 (After college tennis!) that I learned anything (really) about point construction ... strategic analysis of the opposition ... etc.

    My point is ... I think tennis is a game of movement ... skill ... AND strategy. You can do well with any two components, but to be really good requires the presence of all three. (Oh, how I wish I'd developed the *mental* side as quickly as the others!)

    [I actually advanced much faster and farther in Open Karate (Okinawan, TKD, Silat and Chinese Kenpo.) than in Tennis. I'm really simplifying with this....

    Many people get very far in the martial arts because they learn to *not* think too much. A number of MA techniques are really kind of ... "formulaic". (If he does "X", you do "Y" -- and you drilled the formulas so much they became reflex. The faster you trained your muscle memory and pattern recognition, the faster you advanced.) The close proximity actually removed the need for thinking ahead many moves.]

    Tennis points develop so much slower, you need more strategy ... mutliple tactics at your disposal. Reflex alone won't cut it.

    Fortunately for some people (apparently couch and sixftlion, for two) they have the ability to build their strategic / tactical side as fast as the movement and skill sides. (At least that's the theory I've developed in the last 10 minutes...!)

    sixftlion - How the heck do you find the time to squeeze work, family and your (many) athletic activities into one person...!??

    - KK
     
  3. arnz

    arnz Professional

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    I have no doubt that people can reach high levels of play in tennis starting as an adult. My disbelief comes when people say they start beating 4.5's after 1 or 2 years of play. And I'm not trying to offend anyone, but that has just been my experience of seeing many of the same players play for years and years, a lot of whom are athletically blessed and do well in other sports.

    I dont think athleticism is such a big component of being able to master tennis skills and ability to strategize on the court. I think it is more the result of seeing hundreds of thousands of different types of balls coming at you and sensing the right play at a given moment. That takes time and experience IMHO. My first few years of play I was always praised by people for my fine strokes in practice. Imagine my shock when some old guy who sliced, dinked, and lobbed the ball was throwing me around like a yo-yo in real match play. He was just too experienced, and knew how to play the game and saw the tennis court differently after decades of playing. I reckon a lot of players have had the same experience. it wasnt after a long while that you learned how to beat those guys, wasnt it?

    And now I read in here that some people are beating 4.5's after one or two years of play. I dont know about your neck of the woods, but around where I am, 4.5's are like that old guy with all the experience, plus has the athletic ability to match what you say you were blessed with , so what exactly would be your advantage?

    Ahh yes, the all natural ability. Well given that you are beating 4.5's after 1.5 years, that rate of progress would see you on the tour in a couple more years... ;)

    You might all be telling the truth. Frankly, I've seen so many posts in TT that just didnt sound right to me eg. "I'm a 3.5 who played against a 5.0, lost 6-2, 6-3, how do I beat this 5.0 guy with a lousy serve? " or " Now I know my rating after seeing that video showing 5.0's playing each other. I know I can hit my serve harder than them, at least 120mph. "

    Well, if you are all telling the truth, then my bad, it doesnt really affect you or your life what my opinion is, does it? :smile:

    btw : nice story sixftlion, and good website. Looking good!!
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2007
  4. tlm

    tlm Legend

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    Very well put Arnz, you are stating the facts.You could take the best athlete in the world + they would not be able to even come close to a 4.5 player in 3 years.

    I wouldnt say it is impossible to reach 4.0 in 3 years, but even that would take some hard work, but it can be done.But to be beating 4.5 players in 3 years is basically impossible for even the most gifted.
     
  5. pagepa

    pagepa New User

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    My husband and I are both 4.0 players who did not play tennis in high school or college. He played baseball and football in HS & college, then picked up tennis in his later 30's. He played 3.5 for a few years, made it to 3.5 Nationals and got bumped to 4.0. He's been a very solid 4.0 for about 10 years now. I started tennis about 6 years ago at age 36. I played basketball, softball, ran track, etc in high school. I started USTA at the 3.5 level, then went to 4.0 after two seasons at 3.5. My 4.0 team went to nationals in 2005, and finshed 2nd at Sectionals last year, so I guess I'm a pretty solid 4.0. I frequently play with 4.5's and can hang in with them fine in doubles. I never liked singles much. I find singles sort of boring and mechanical. I like doubles since it's generally faster paced and you have to rely more on reflexes, instincts an improvisation.

    Personally, I think athletic women who have played other sports move up quickly in the world of league/club tennis. Most of the women I play with are good 4.0's and 4.5's. Many did not play HS or college tennis. But they all played other sports.
     
  6. sixftlion

    sixftlion Rookie

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    KK, :) I am really really well organized! But also I don't have family (i.e kids), just a cute dog, so it makes life easier.

    I have a day pre-planned in my head, if I need to do shopping I fit it in on the way to or from somewhere so I don't need to do a special trip. If it can save me 30 min, for example, and then another 30 min somewhere else, it's 1 hour of tennis or a gym.

    PS
    I also try to sleep 8 hours (most often it's just 7.5 though), so I would recover well.
     
  7. Pusher

    Pusher Professional

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    I hit with a 4.0 lady a few days ago-she was a scholarship college player (basketball and volleyball). She is quick and fit and she was dangerous at the net but her ground strokes were not very good. She's been playing tennis about 4 years, could not hit with topspin and her second serve was her first serve-but slower. I didn't think she was at a 4.0 level (in Atlanta) and talking to her it seems she was moved up to fill out a team.

    I don't really have a rating and I refuse to self rate but I'm not very good and I beat that lady 2 and 2. Just kept the ball in play and let her beat herself. I guess the moral of this story is that ratings are way too subjective to be of much use and gifted athletes will not necessarily make good tennis players without a solid foundation of hard work and good coaching over an extended period of time. Sure, it can be done but the committment necessary is more than most people can handle.
     
  8. couch

    couch Hall of Fame

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    KK, I always enjoy your posts because you tend to be right on the money and sum things up very succinctly.

    As I've said before, there are exceptions to every rule. I don't understand why that is so hard to understand. Tennis is such a unique sport where, like KK said, you have to have all "three" (movement, skill, and strategy) to be a high-level player. I think high level 4.0 or low to mid-level 4.5 is where you max-out with only two of those attributes.

    It probably took me the longest to develop the tactical side of my game because I like to hit the ball hard and used to go for low-percentage shots too much. I still like to hit the ball hard but I am smarter about how I use it now. I think guys without a lot of weapons tend to develop their tactical sides quicker because they "have" to if they want to win. Guys with a lot of talent tend to rely on that talent a little too much for too long. Take Andre Agassi for example. He was one of the most talented, hardest hitting players when he first came on tour. He relied on his talent a little too much. Then he matured into one of the fittest players that would work the point and breakdown his opponents.

    Just as an aside, I think people who were good at baseball when they were young tend to be able to progress quickly at tennis. I think you need a lot of the same attributes to be good at both sports. In baseball you have to be quick with good movement, have excellent hand-eye coordination, and be able to think and strategize. I'm sure someone can cite an example of a pro baseball player who can't play a lick of tennis but we are talking in general terms here.

    Again, my two cents.
     
  9. Pusher

    Pusher Professional

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    I hear that kind of stuff all the time. I string a few racquets on the side and many of these people tell me they are 4.0 or 4.5 and all they do is hit a couple of times a week and have never played in any sanctioned event.

    Sometimes I mention that my son (16) is looking for a good hitting partner at about the 4.0 or 4.5 level and ask them if they are interested. After they find out that my son has a top 20 state ranking they start doing the backstroke-"I don't have the time" or "my back is acting up" or whatever. The fact is that a "solid 4.5" adult player will usually clean my son's clock. They're too smart and too experienced for a mentally fragile junior.

    I guess I'm like the guys from Missouri-show'me.
     
  10. couch

    couch Hall of Fame

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    Pusher, you are probably able to vary your game a lot more than someone like this. You are probably a lot more consistent and smarter. It sounds like they have some skills but can't rely on every stroke to be consistent.

    A smart player will pick up on weaknesses and exploit them. And like you said, she was good at net but not good from the baseline. My guess is that she can play 3.5 singles and doubles but maybe only 4.0 doubles (given her strengths/weaknesses).

    Heck, I played against a girl who has had some success in Challengers and is going to play D-1 college tennis next year and I beat her like 6-3, 6-3. All I did was keep the ball in play and tracked down her best shots. Yeah, I like to hit with power but I toned it down and just let her over-hit and beat herself. She had a lot of talent but didn't know how to take some pace off, vary her shots and construct a point.

    Being a good athlete usually helps when it comes to learning any new sport. It just does. It's not the end-all, be-all as far as learning and becoming proficient at a new sport but you can't deny that it certainly helps in most cases.

    Anyway, interesting stuff from everybody. I guess that's what makes tennis such a great and dynamic sport.
     
  11. Pusher

    Pusher Professional

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    Good conversation.

    I'm not picking on the girls. I played a D-1 girl last month, self rated at 4.5 although she is still playing D-1 tennis. She toyed with me and beat me 0 and 0 and it wasn't as close as the score indicates :(. After the match she informed me that she was a previous Romanian amateur national champion. I fell in love.
     
  12. couch

    couch Hall of Fame

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    Hopefully her looks matched her strokes. LOL
     
  13. duffman

    duffman Rookie

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    I assume you are talking about me from the verbage you used:

    I wish it did work like that, I wouldn't mind the tour life. But seriously, moving up through the ratings gets inifinately more difficult as you move up into the 4.5-5.0 range. Especially when guys have the ability and strategy to beat up on your shortcomings. I honestly see myself wallowing around in 4.5 for 2-3 years before getting everything squared away and moving on to 5.0.

    And yes the 4.5's in my area (norcal) are typically the guys with the experience and a decent amount of athletic ability and the strokes to match. They typically played D1 college tennis 20 yrs ago or played some sort of college tennis at some level for the younger guys. When I first started playing tennis I was in awe of the 4.5's and the 5.0's I felt were in a whole different league. I thought I would be satisfied to be a 4.0 one day. Then I stated hitting with the 4.5's, got waxed all over the court for a while, but it really pointed out what I needed to work on. So, I went back to the lab, worked on my weaknesses and came back for more. Eventually the waxings became beatings, which became hanging tough, which now have become anybody's ball game. The other thing it helped with is that I don't look at my opponants in awe as the "supernatural" 4.5's anymore.

    I'll be the first one to admit that if I did not have these guys (4.5's) to hit with my game would be nowhere near where it is today. I feel very fortunate that they even gave me the time of day on the court because for whatever reason, tennis players seem to have their cliques. The 3.5's play only with other 3.5s, 4.0's hang with other 4.0's and so on.

    Anyway, I'm sorry you and your buddy tlm don't seem to believe me. Tlm posted that "you are stating the facts". But I am the only to post any facts (4-2 @ 4.5 and 6-2 @ 4.0 in 2006 and started playing tennis at the beginning of 2005). All you and tlm have posted is your opinion that it is impossible to reach the 4.5 level in 2 years. Its not like I came on here to brag about my tennis skills, all I did was honestly reply to somebody's question about being a 4.0+ w/o high school or college experience.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2007
  14. dennis10is

    dennis10is Banned

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    Great athlete would find any sport easy, they may be either too small or too big to be a more perfect fit for the sport but they will rapid excel in any sport and would become excellent at that sport, say a 6.0 equivalent. That is a standard metric if you want to know if someone has a decent chance to turn pro. Agassi would have been a great boxer, Chang would have made a great small running back, imagine him with a big upper body and even larger legs, Sampras a pitcher, quarterback, volleyball player, Federer a point guard, soccer forward. They would have different body shapes for their new sports but the natural gifts would translate.
     
  15. heycal

    heycal Hall of Fame

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    Is it just me, or does anyone else have trouble imagining Michael Chang bowling over NFL linekbackers, Federer as a point guard for the New York Knicks, or Agassi slugging it out with Mike Tyson?
     
  16. couch

    couch Hall of Fame

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    About the only thing I can imagine out of that is Agassi punching it out with Tyson. Given all Tyson's troubles lately and Agassi's dad being an olympic boxer and all. :)
     
  17. marcl65

    marcl65 Semi-Pro

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    Interesting, I rarely (if ever) see 4.0 players in my area resort to moonballing. I thought this was strictly a 3.0 and below tactic.
     
  18. Pusher

    Pusher Professional

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    They did.

    The word "stunning" comes to mind!
     
  19. heycal

    heycal Hall of Fame

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    Or a 7.0 tactic, regularly employed at the French Open a while back from my understanding.
     
  20. heycal

    heycal Hall of Fame

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    Come on. Baghdatis put Agassi flat on his back just by hitting a little tennis ball across the net at him for a couple of hours.;) I would think one Tyson punch would really lay him out...
     
  21. goober

    goober Legend

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    Michael Chang- no way. NFL running backs that are Chang's real height (and there are not that many of them) generally are around 200 lbs and mostly muscle. Being fast around the court doesn't mean you are going to be a star running back. Take a couple hits from some 300 lbs guys and see how you hold up over a course of a game.

    Fed- another nada. He has no hops. At his height he would have incredible ball handling and shooting skillz. Just because he is great tennis player doesn't mean he will have these. Probably would be a major defensive liability.

    Agassi wouldn't fight Tyson because they would be in different weight classes. This one is semi plausible that he could be a boxer, but a lot would depend on what kind of jaw he has.
     
  22. marcl65

    marcl65 Semi-Pro

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    I think you're referring to Michael Chang's match with Ivan Lendl. IIRC, he was cramping and was doing anything he could to stay in the match including the moonballs and an underhand sidespin serve - it worked by putting Lendl off balance. But I don't think that qualifies as "regularly employed".
     
  23. couch

    couch Hall of Fame

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    I don't know if you picked up on the fact that sixftlion is a female or not but she is and at women's 4.0 they will resort to moonballs. It's kinda like a 4.0/4.5 version of a male pusher. And she is exactly right; she needs to learn how to beat them before she moves up to 4.5.
     
  24. heycal

    heycal Hall of Fame

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    No, I wasn't referrring to that match. I believe there was a period of time where several players used that tactic at the FO. Late seventies/early eighties maybe? Perhaps someone more well versed in tennis history than I can shed some light on this.
     
  25. dennis10is

    dennis10is Banned

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    Agassi would not be fighting as a heavy weight. Pound for pound Agassi is strong and his hand speed and eye speed is phenomenal. John Stockton isn't all that different than Federer, similar size, speed, footwork, touch. There have been NFL running back who are short but bulky. Chang would have to bulk up his upper body. You would be a bad linebacker if you plan to run over linebackers, I thought the purpose is to run around them. I assume that you have seen Asian men who lift heavy. Chang changes direction extremely well, he would be tough to tackle. How about Dat Nguyen ex-Dallas Cowboys?

    And, my grand mother with a cane could be a point guard for the Knicks. She tried out for the position but Isiah Thomas felt threatened by her so he cut her.
     
  26. 35ft6

    35ft6 Legend

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    If 3 year olds can spontaneously play the piano the first time they touch it, then it's not outside the realm of possibility that a person can just so happen to be born with a natural understanding of tennis. I've taught people how to hit a top spin forehand in less than 10 minutes. Of course, that doesn't mean they can do it in a match, or even rally, but just that if I toss them a ball while they and I are on the service line, they can hit a top spin forehand, the direction of which they have no control over.

    Becoming a 5.0 player even if you start late in life is not that incredible of a feat IMO especially if you're already very coordinated... live someplace with nice weather year round... and play a lot. All I know is that I used to put up ads all the time specifying only 5.0 to 5.5 players need respond, and most, more like almost all, of the self-proclaimed 5.5 players are more like 4.5 and some were even worse. So for the most part, when people state their ratings on these boards, I take it with a grain of salt.

    BTW, the number 2 on the D-2 team I played on my freshman year was said to have started playing at age 16. He was 19 when he was two. True? I have no idea. But certainly possible. Not like he was tops even in our league. Solid though. I played number 1 and lost almost every match. Played 2 Americans the whole season. Just came from a 2 year layoff and I sucked.
     
  27. 35ft6

    35ft6 Legend

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    He's strong for a tennis player, but in the fight game, you'll suddenly find that he's only slightly above average in strength, even on a pound for pound basis. Guys like Shawn Sherk, Yamamoto Kid, GSP, etc. They'd toss Agassi around like a salad.
    Chang's football counterpart might be somebody like the late great Barry Sanders. And Chang might be fast for tennis, but he's no Barry Sanders. Barry was around 5'10" but 200 lbs. At some point, you need to be able to run through some very big bodies, even if you can't run OVER them. Chang didn't have that type of mass and it would probably take some illegal drugs to get his body to that point. It's like comparing the WTA to the ATP, it's really fun, but at some point you have to say ATP players are athletic for ATP athletes, no point in comparing the ATP to the NFL. The NFL is full of athletic freaks, the ATP is full of highly trained, very fit tennis players. Big difference.
     
  28. Brad Smith

    Brad Smith Rookie

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    You can't just bulk up your upper body when you're 150 pounds to start with and much of that comes from huge legs. Tennis is full of guys under 6 feet tall who are 140-160 pounds and are very fast and can run all day, but the fastest guys in the NFL are all at least 30-40 pounds heavier than that and still just as fast. Guys in the NBA are all much taller and just as fast. Soccer is a sport where small speedy guys can still make an impact and in fact there are a lot of tennis players who grew up playing soccer as well. Most of those soccer players couldn't play in the NFL or NBA either, while a lot of the guys in the NFL/NBA would make great soccer players if they had grown up in a different country. Steve Nash by all accounts was a great soccer player and his brother played on the Canadian national team.

    Agassi as a boxer? I don't think so. His father was a boxer for ?Iran? and not the US, Cuba, Mexico, Russia, etc. In other words, that doesn't mean much other than he's tough and has endurance. Agassi probably would have had a better chance to play baseball as a contact hitting second baseman.

    Historically tennis has been a sport played by only a small percentage of the world's population, and since it was not an olympic sport until the 90's it was also ignored by countries like Russia, China, and East Germany. That meant that in the 70's and even the 80's there were good but not great athletes who could succeed at the pro level, particularly those players coming from the USA. Things have changed now because of the money available and there are kids all over the world playing tennis along with soccer and basketball as their main sports. Here in the US, though, most of the best athletes are pushed into other sports. Gael Monfils would be playing basketball in the US.
     
  29. arnz

    arnz Professional

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    Brad, guys in the NFL and NBA are not as fast as tennis players, they are much, much faster :) And they can jump much higher. Their level of athleticism is one that no tennis player, even the best tennis players, can match.


    I believe that athleticism is a primary requisite for sports like basketball, football and boxing. It is so much less important in tennis. Tennis is a skill game. Yes the fitter you are the better but there is a huge difference between being fit enough to play 5 sets, and being athletic enough to jump high in the air and perform a reverse dunk. :p
     
  30. peter

    peter Professional

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    I think I'm at 4.0-4.5 level now. I mostly played for fun during my growing up years (only during the summers) with my two buddies. Probably was at 3.0-3.5 level (at best).

    It wasn't until some 6-7 years ago when I came "back" into tennis (after a 17 year break) that I started improving. And I didn't *really* improve (even though I played 1-3 hours/week all year around) until I started attending group lessons with a real coach a couple of years ago (1 hour/week) in addition to playing 2-4 hours a week and also *really* trying to read and try all tips I could find (including reading this message board).

    I'll be 40 this year.
     
  31. me is bored

    me is bored Semi-Pro

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    ehh im a texas superchamp been playin for 2 years and 4.0+
     
  32. MasterTS

    MasterTS Professional

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    That would be me..

    I actually just played my sisters BF last weekend.. he played #2 varsity singles in highschool.. I tore him up 6-1, 6-1 lol
     
  33. Kaptain Karl

    Kaptain Karl Hall Of Fame

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    The term "moonball" has taken on different meaning for most of today's players. Harold Solomon was infamous in the '70s for suddenly throwing up a lob of 30ft or more. When asked about it, he called it a "Moonball". He did it to throw-off the other guy's timing ... to catch a breath ... to give himself time to towel-off in the middle of a point. Most of the guys were irritated by the tactic ... so, of course, he kept doing it.

    - KK
     
  34. Jeff-2018

    Jeff-2018 New User

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    Very interesting discussion comparing athletes from other sports. Yannick Noah's son plays basketball and is a top NCAA prospect. He's around 6' 8'' I think, now would he make a great tennis player? Probably, but has more athleticism than tennis requires. take Monfils, does the extra speed, jumping ability, explosiveness, balance etc. help him win more tennis matches, maybe, but those skills would be a must to even be on a college basketball team. Tennis is so much more than that. Remember Ben Johnson from the late 80's? The fastest man the world had ever seen, especially the first half of a hundred metre, did 9.79 at 88 olympics and slowed down the last three strides with his hand in the air! Was stripped of everything after getting caught for steroids and tried out for some NFL teams as a kick returner. He was useless. Couldn't catch much, poor lateral movement, no quick thinking, Etc. He tried the CFL in Canada, same result.
    I'm an athletic trainer and trained one of the premier receivers in the CFL last year. I'm as fast as he is, stronger in the gym, and I can catch pretty good. I'm also as quick in lateral speed and agility drills. does that mean I can do his job? Not even close, every time he catches a ball (and he has sick hands, unbelievables ability to catch anything thrown within 5 yards of him) he gets hammered into the ground by a guy weighing at least 25 solid pounds heavier. If he was 3-4 inches taller he would be in the NFL.
    Now to answer the original question, I'm 37 years old, and first picked up a racket when I was 10. For two years I played 2-3 times a week with about a total of 20 lessons given by a local Nigerian who claimed to be a tennis pro. Because we lived in Africa there were hardly any kids to play so I mostly played adults. We moved to Canada and I didn't play at all untill I was 28. I did play tons of other sports and always trained myself for speed, strength, explosiveness, serious weight training since I was 14. At 28 I had a 1 year old boy and decided to get back into tennis because I wanted him to play. I played at the local club at the most 40 times a year until two years ago, when my son was old enough for me to spend a lot more time on court mostly with him. i joined a serious summer clay court club and was already playing indoors in the winter. Started playing 2-3 times a week in leagues. For the last 10 years have been a serious student of the game taping almost every possible T.V. match and watching technique in slow motion. More than an hour a night on the internet. I even certified level 1 coaching with PTR last summer. All this to say that since playing for the last 10 years, mostly matches, if I won it was because of speed and general athleticism, but I would usually lose because over the course of a match a few highlight reel points don't get you very far. For the last year I made the commitment to practise serving 3 times a week. This has paid off and is the biggest reason for my improvement. I don't know what my level is although a few pros have told me 5.0. Last summer I played on clay against a chap from Texas who was my age. He has been playing state tournaments for the last ten years and has done very well. Clay was his worst surface as he has an attacking game( he's 6'3''). Very agile guy for his height. We played 4 times in one week and I never won but took him to three sets twice. He was, over the course of a match, a more solid ball striker than me. That was so obvious. We both beat a young junior, 17 year old, that week, me in 3 sets and him in 2. This junior is 6'5'' and has spent the last 3 years at Evert academy in Florida at a coast of 45,000 a year. Big strokes but on clay no consistency and mentally weak. Last October I finally beat another 17 year old ranked 12 in 18 and under, although over the preceding 12 months he had beaten me 3 straight times. I hit with a girl twice a week currently, she is ranked #2 in 14 and under, she's 5'9'' and 135 lbs. When we practise the rallys are close, when we play a set she rarely gets more than 2 games. The difference, now that I have competent strokes, is the serve and footspeed.
     

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